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Kylian Mbappe has revealed that his France teammate Antoine Griezmann was “disappointed” at missing out on being named the nation’s new captain.
Les Bleus were in need of a new skipper after Hugo Lloris announced his retirement following the 2022 World Cup, with manager Didier Deschamps this week handing Mbappe the responsibility.
The star striker, who is also PSG captain, believes his behaviour on the pitch could change with the armband, and that he will also listen to anything that newly-appointed vice-captain Griezmann has to say.
Mbappe consoles Griezmann
France host the Netherlands in their opening Euro 2024 qualifying match this evening, before travelling to Dublin to play the Republic of Ireland in their second match on Monday.
Completing Group B are Gibraltar and Greece, with Mbappe now the man leading their qualification pursuit on the pitch. His appointment as captain comes ahead of his 67th France cap, with Griezmann chasing his 118th France cap.
“I spoke with Antoine,” said Mbappe, as quoted by LiveScore. “He was disappointed and it’s understandable. I told him that I would have had the same reaction.
“He is perhaps the player who has been the most important in the Deschamps era. But I am not his superior. We will be hand in hand, he and I, to try to make this French team reign at world level.
“If he has something to say in front of the group, I will sit down and listen. We must not close the door to anyone. Everyone is free to express themselves.”
Mbappe honoured with new role
Mbappe has been a star for club and country since breaking onto the scene, with his most recent achievements for France coming on the biggest stage of them all.
The forward bagged a hat-trick in the 2022 World Cup final, but his nation still managed to come up short against a Lionel Messi-inspired Argentina side.
While he is just 24 years old, Mbappe has more big-game experience than most, while his actions on the pitch speak for themselves. He already sits sixth in the nation’s all-time leading goalscoring list with 36 goals, just one behind Karim Benzema.
The tallies of Platini (41) and Griezmann (42) will also be within his sights in the very near future, with Thierry Henry’s 51 and Olivier Giroud’s 53 perhaps slightly longer-term targets.
Mbappe has already surpassed France icons Zinedine Zidane and David Trezeguet, with not many betting against the young star surpassing Giroud at the top of the list.
While his goals will not stop coming, the PSG star believes his behaviour may now alter as he puts on the captain’s armband. His first test is a tricky one, with the Netherlands looking to bounce back from their narrow quarter-final exit against Argentina in Qatar.
“I’m not going to change,” added Mbappe. “I will always do what my coach asks me. A good captain is someone focused on the team, who is able to unite.
“It’s beyond cool. I’m captain of my country. It’s a new responsibility for me which I will assume naturally. It won’t change the way I play, but maybe the way I behave.”
Didier Deschamps has named Kylian Mbappé as new 𝒍𝒆𝒔 𝑩𝒍𝒆𝒖𝒔 𝒄𝒂𝒑𝒕𝒂𝒊𝒏! ©️
Antoine Griezmann is the vice-captain 🇫🇷 #FiersdetreBleus pic.twitter.com/Q5ui3hPopT
— French Team ⭐⭐ (@FrenchTeam) March 21, 2023